Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Off to Miami

Left San Jose for Miami yesterday for the CCDA board meeting and conference. 7:30 AM flight, the sky was beautiful as we took off. After a long delay in Chicago I arrived at the hotel at 9:30 pm.

On Wednesday lots of EPA folks arrive. Jenni and Gil from our office at NCUD, Joe, Linda and Phil from Community Trust Credit Union, Heather from FYBY, and Rolando and Amy from BCM. I'm looking forward to hanging with all the EPA folks in Miami.

I'll post updates as often as I can throughout the week. 

If you're coming to the conference please don't miss the specific 'emerging' CCDA leader's track that I've been organizing. Heather and I are also doing a workshop on leadership transition on Thursday. I'm also leading a panel discussion on Thursday at lunch. Here's some details:

- Emerging Leader Panel: CCD and Shalom as Implemented by the Next Generation of CCDA Leadership - Thursday, 11:45am - 12:45pm

- When the Sand Shifts: Personal Leadership Transition for Emerging Leaders- Thursday at 1:00 (taught by Heather Starnes and John Liotti)

· Emerging Leader Chat with CCDA board and staff - Thursday, October 23, 9:30pm – 10:30pm (Orchid B):

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It was 20 years ago today...

No, not Sargent Pepper, but 20 years ago today Melissa and I were married! 

It was a long time ago. We were young, idealistic and in love. Looking back, I wouldn't change that decision for the world! However, looking at the picture maybe I should have cut out a cheeseburger or two;) 

I've been reflecting on this great milestone and how we got here. As ususal, music connects with me and my feelings. There are two songs that put my feelings into words. Fred Hammond's "Lord Your Grace" and Dylan's "Covenant Woman".  (No video for Dylan, bummer.)

In many ways it's only due to the grace of God and our commitment (and in many way's Melissa's patience) that we're still together. I give all honor to my Lord and Savior. 

Melissa, I love you. Let's go for 20 more! 

Covenant Woman - Bob Dylan

Covenant woman got a contract with the Lord
Way up yonder, great will be her reward.
Covenant woman, shining like a morning star,
I know I can trust you to stay where you are.

And I just got to tell you
I do intend
To stay closer than any friend.
I just got to thank you
Once again
For making your prayers known
Unto heaven for me
And to you, always, so grateful
I will forever be.

I've been broken, shattered like an empty cup.
I'm just waiting on the lord to rebuild and fill me up
And I know he will do it 'cause he's faithful and he's true,
He must have loved me so much to send me someone as fine as you.


Covenant woman, intimate little girl
Who knows those most secret things of me that are hidden from the world.
You know we are strangers in a land we're passing through.
I'll always be right by your side, I've got a covenant too.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

New Records by Oasis and Dylan

Dylan Just released a new bootleg record called "Tell Tale Signs" and Oasis just released "Dig Out Your Soul". - great stuff! Just in time for the trip to the CCDA conference. New Ryan Adams in a few weeks! 

New records, one reason to love the fall!

Is race an issue in today's politics?

A recent AP / Yahoo / Stanford University poll says it may. USA Today reports:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks.
The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about 2.5 percentage points.

Statistical models derived from the poll suggest that Obama's support would be as much as 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racial prejudice.

But in an election without precedent, it's hard to know if such models take into account all the possible factors at play.
What do you think? Is race an issue in this election? Is the US ready for an African American president?

Two excellent resources to help you understand the current financial crisis

Yesterday I listened to an excellent episode of the PBS show 'This American Life". In layman's terms they described the current major concerns (mortgage meltdown, commercial paper, credit default swaps) and discussed the pros and cons of the bailout. This was VERY helpful to me as I've been trying to understand the current pickle we're in. I encourage you to listen. You can find it here or on itunes. The episode is called "Another Frightening Show About the Economy".

They also recommend the "Planet Money" podcast which gives a day to day recap on what's happening.You can find it here or also on itunes.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bottom Up Economics

This morning I read a great San Francisco Chronicle editorial by Robert Reich on economic policy focused on the middle and lower class. The article states: 
"Bailout or no bailout, we're heading into deep recession. One of the first initiatives that Congress and the next administration will need to take will be an economic stimulus package. But not even this will remedy the underlying problem: The earnings of most Americans haven't kept up with the cost of living. That means there's not enough purchasing power to keep the economy going.

Adjusted for inflation, the incomes of nongovernment workers are lower today than in 2000. They're barely higher than they were in the mid-1970s. The income of a man in his 30s is now 12 percent below that of a man his age three decades ago.

The long-term answer is for America to invest in the productivity of our working people - enabling families to afford health insurance and have access to good schools and higher education, while also rebuilding our infrastructure and investing in the clean-energy technologies of the future. We must also adopt progressive taxes at the federal, state and local levels."
The article identifies three coping mechanisms that the US engaged into keep our living standards growing in the face of stagnant or falling wages. Reich suggests we are out of options. Those mechanisms are:

- Women with children entered the work force.
- Americans work more hours. More than the Europeans and even the Japanese.
- We borrow.

Our nation simply has nothing more to give to allow us to grow without increased earning capacity. The article states:
"(today) ...The top 1 percent of American earners now take home about 20 percent of total national income. In 1980, the top 1 percent took home just 8 percent. Inequality on this scale is bad for many reasons, but it is also bad for the economy."
This again underscores that NCUD's initiatives such as the credit union and financial literacy places us on the front lines of the current economic crisis. The answer to many families problems is education and empowerment with a commitment to live within our means. If the U.S. is to pull our of our current economic malaise, then drastic short term action must be taken, but not at the cost of the long-term.

Yes, we have a crisis with our financial system, but our problems are also chronic - requiring a long term focus. A focus on helping the bottom rise. This goes beyond partisan politics and into the realm of "doing justice and loving mercy". However, this this type of justice action will straighten or entire nation - from the bottom up.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Who are you going to hire?

OK - so I'm just going to say it. I'm supporting Obama this year. I certainly have issues with each candidate's platform, but in the end I believe that Obama is better suited for the job, especially at this point in our nation's history. 

My friend Stewart Hyland sent this to me that was a striking comparison of the candidates backgrounds. I felt that it underscored why I'm supporting Barak. I've heard some of my more conservative friends question Barak's qualifications and touted McCain's. This directly addresses those concerns and asks whether Obama is being discounted because of his race. Perhaps that is going to far, but It's still an interesting comparison. 
What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating Five?
What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said 'I do' to?
What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

With America facing historic debt, 2 wars, stumbling health care, a weakened dollar, all-time high prison population, mortgage crises, bank foreclosures, etc. consider...

Educational Background:

Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)


United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire ?